Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Patchy Job

On Wednesday, a work crew from Magyar Közút Zrt. did some remedial repairs to the worst section of the Szentendre bike path -- between Szentendre and Omszki Lake. It wasn't what you'd call a comprehensive job, but they did manage to iron out about 10 of the most egregious cracks and heaves.

As a result, I could ride a bit faster than usual on my evening commute, but because the path is in such a thoroughly bad state of repair, I still had to keep a sharp eye on the ground at all times to avoid a crack up. Unfortunately, I didn't have my camera, so I can't show you the patch jobs. As patches go, they're fine. Everything in between the patches remains a disaster.

This bike path has been the bane of my bike-riding existence since I started riding on it almost daily when I took a job in Szentendre in 20o2. Running along the west shoulder of Route 11 from Békasmegyer to Szentendre, it was completed circa 1988, making it the second oldest bike path in the Budapest metro area (only the one along Kerepesi út is older, I'm told).

According to standard practice, it wasn't built well in first place, with little to no gravel bed. Even when I started riding on it eight years ago, it was in horrible shape, with grass and weeds thrusting up from gaping cracks and the slabs of pavement in between buckling up and presenting a hazard to life and limb (and rim) every few metres.

On the southern end, the path is in OK shape, but it gets worse and worse as you ride north. The part north of Omszki Lake (a representative segment is shown in this photo -- taken in 2001!) is in a scandalous state. My previous bike was a hybrid/trekking style Merida and I went through three back wheels and like number of axles in just three seasons because of this section. My wheel problems ended only after I switched to a slower, more rugged nobbley-tired mountain bike.

Not to say I don't appreciate yesterday's patch job. But to smooth out the whole path, you'd have to patch the whole thing, which is to say -- it needs to be resurfaced. A proper resurfacing every quarter century shouldn't be too much to ask.

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